873 Leucanthemum X superbumCommon Names: shasta daisy Family: Asteraceae (aster/daisy Family)
The ever popular shasta daisy is a robust perennial which gets 2-3 ft (0.6-0.9 m) tall and grows in a bushy clump with foliage spreading about 18" across. Shasta daisies bloom over a long period from early summer to autumn with happy bright white flowerheads borne singly atop long green stems. The heads are 2-5 in (5.1-12.7 cm) across with snow white ray flowers and golden yellow discs. The foliage grows in a mat with glossy dark green leaves 8-12 in (20.3-30.5 cm) long arranged in a basal rosette. The leaves are strap shaped, nearly evergreen, and rather thick. There are smaller leaves on the erect flowering stems. Shasta daisy is sometimes confused with ox-eye daisy (L. vulgare or Chrysanthemum leucanthemum), which is a smaller plant that blooms earlier with smaller flowerheads only 1-2 in (2.5-5.1 cm) across.
There are several seed strains available as well as at least 50 named clonal cultivars. 'Beaute' is tall, to 36 in (91.4 cm), and 'Everest' even larger, to 4 ft (1.2 m) in height. 'Snowcap' is a dwarf, usually less than 1 ft (0.3 m) tall, but has flowerheads 4 in (10.2 cm) across. 'Becky' is heat tolerant and reported to be one of the best cultivars for the southern U.S. 'Esther Read' has double flowerheads. 'Wirral Supreme' is a tall, to 36 in (91.4 cm), double that needs staking. 'Phyllis Smith' has twisted and recurved rays. 'Aglaia' has fringed semidouble flowerheads. The seed race, 'Alaska', has smaller flowerheads, about 2 in (5.1 cm) across. 'Snowy Lady' is also propagated from seed; she is a fast growing little lady to 18 in (45.7 cm) tall who blooms the first year from seed. 'Barbara Bush', named after the former first lady and now first mother, has leaves variegated with yellow.
Shasta daisy, Leucanthemum X superbum, was created by Luther Burbank in 1890 in his experimental garden under the shadow of Mt. Shasta in northern California. He crossed L. maximum from the Spanish Pyrenees with C. lacustre from Portugal.
CultureShasta daisy does best in well-drained limey soils. If your soil is acidic (and most soils in regions with high rainfall are) you should add some lime. Divide shasta daisies every couple years in the winter (never in the fall or summer). Deadhead throughout the flowering season, cutting the flower stems to the ground. The taller cultivars will probably require staking. Light: Full sun is best for most shasta daisies; some of the cultivars with double flowers do well in partial shade. Partial shade is also recommended for shasta daisies in zones 8 and 9. Moisture: Give shasta daisies plenty of water during their growing season. They can even tolerate brief periods of wet soils in the summer, but will die if soils are soggy during the winter. Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 - 9. Some references suggest shasta daisy is hardy to zone 4, and others say it is hardy only to zone 6. Propagation: The named clones are propagated by division in winter or early spring. Seed strains are planted by seed which can be expected to germinate in about two weeks. Plants grown from seed may not flower in their first year.
Shasta daisies are used in mixed perennial borders. Their eye catching clean white flowers brighten up any flower bed or border. They are effective in masses, small groups and as singles. The cut flowers last several days.
Shasta daisy is one of the most popular all time favorite flowers. It is easy to grow, readily available and there are many cultivars to choose from.
>Shasta daisy was created by the American plant breeder, Luther Burbank (1849-1926), who may be best known for developing the Burbank potato which was resistant to blight and helped relieve the great Irish potato famine. He also developed many cultivars of plums and other fruits. Dr. Burbank introduced more than 800 cultivars of fruits, vegetables, flowers and cereal grains.
Steve Christman 12/2/00; updated 3/7/04